View this post on Instagram
Kids, parents–visit Irons in the Fire, #downtowncarterville, for a free coloring page (while supplies last) in celebration of the Carterville Free Fair. If you are unable to get to Carterville in the near future and would like an email with a PDF copy of the coloring page, please send an email with "free fair coloring page" as the subject to firstname.lastname@example.org #coloringpage #Carterville #cartervillefreefair #WherePeopleMeetonDivisionStreet #asliceofsouthernillinois #freefair #ThingsToDoInSouthernIllinois
Last Sunday, I finally made it to the Carterville Farmers’ Market in it’s new time slot. Since it now runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sundays at Cannon Park, there was plenty of time to walk around and grab lunch at the market after church.
Although it was a pretty hot afternoon, I enjoyed looking at all of the different things and chatting with some of the vendors. Dee Ann Hammack, who manages the market, had invited me to come out and see the changes since my last time there. She explained that a few of the regular vendors were absent due to the 4th of July holiday, but there was still a good variety. Some of the items I saw were local honey, fresh veggies, artisan-crafted items, kettle corn, plants, live music, and even a chuck wagon with picnic tables.
Dee Ann and her husband, Mike, also operate the Thunder 5 Ranch Chuck Wagon, a farm to fork culinary experience that also sets up at the Johnston City Farmer’s Market. The rib dinner that they prepared for me was wonderful: ribs, corn, and zucchini and onions. I also really liked the special edition 4th of July bib custom made by Nammers Crafts for the chuck wagon. Super cute. The T5R Chuck Wagon menu may vary a bit from week to week based upon what they have ready in their gardens.
The market does accept EBT/LINK and Debit/Credit for transactions. EBT/LINK purchases are limited to items allowed by law such as produce, pre-packaged food, and plants that produce food. If you enter Cannon Park from Greenbriar Street, you will drive on around to the little drive/road just past the skate park that turns toward the market and park in the grass behind the vendors (unless directed otherwise.)
Thunder 5 Ranch Chuck Wagon
Zucchini & onions on a custom-made bib by Nammers Crafts
Did somebody say funnel cake?
The Potager’s Garden
Music by David Campbell of Lamp Lighter Farm
Have you ever wanted to step into one of those made for tv Christmas movies? You know, the ones with perfect snow, charming little towns, and cheerful Christmas decor? Perhaps the hero or heroine has a scene or two driving through a small blizzard with the perfect, handpicked Christmas tree, tied to the top of a vintage truck.
While there is no guarantee that any of the cafés will have a snowglobe with a track record of granting Christmas wishes, many of the things in those tv movies can be found right here in Southern Illinois. Hometown Christmas celebrations, parades, lighted Christmas displays and more are celebrated by many from I-70 by Effingham down to the Kentucky state line. Whether it snows or not (our weather can range from below zero to near 70 degrees in December–sometimes all in one week,) it’s a beautiful season.
One of the earliest kick offs to the season happened this year when “The Great Christmas Light Fight” visited Candy Cane Lane in West Frankfort to tape for airing in 2019. People have visited Candy Cane Lane for decades to see the brightly decorated neighborhood in West Frankfort. I can remember driving through with my family as a child when we were en route home to Salem from Christmas Eve dinner with family in Marion.
Many communities still have Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies. Murphysboro will have theirs on November 30. Others also have community Christmas celebrations, such as Christmas in Carterville on December 7.
Besides Christmas Light displays, Southern Illinois also hosts beautiful Christmas parades. I was actually fortunate to be in the first Lights Fantastic Parade in Carbondale as part of the SIU Marching Salukis Color Guard. It was very cold, but a lot of fun. There turned out to be a learning curve to lighted parades. Some of the floats caught on fire that year. Meanwhile, we had adorned our flag poles with battery-operated light sets. They looked awesome. However, when we did slams, the lights did not fair so well… I love that the parade is now a community tradition. This year, the parade will be on December 1. There is also a Cookie Walk and Java Fest earlier the same day.
Some of the Christmas celebrations are listed by town with links to additional information under Events on the website and ASOSI app. You can also check out locally-owned food, lodging, and shopping opportunities to make it a Christmas vacation.
The Carterville Lion’s Club Free Fair kicked off this Wednesday in Cannon Park with the Farmer’s Market and runs through Saturday, September 8, 2018. This year’s theme is 105 Years of Our Tradition: Harvest the Memories. The Free Fair is a family-friendly event where many gather each year for some good, clean fun.
Friday evening features a 5K Twilight Glow Run and Poker Walk as part of the event festivities. Jackson Junction will be performing from 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm.
Saturday’s lineup includes a parade at 10:00 am, the Lioness Cake Walk, and Stride Pro Wrestling. Debbie Browning is this year’s Parade Marshall. Some of this year’s free events are a pet fair, children’s eye screenings, Identi-Kid services, Emery Brothers Roller Skating, a Ping Pong Avalanche, and hands on healthy snack and eating demos from the Carbondale Neighborhood Co-op Grocery.
Carnival rides, games, and bingo will be operating Friday evening and Saturday. Arm bands are $24 and single tickets are $3.
Additional info is available on the event’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FreeFairPageant/
Southern Illinois is home to many Fourth of July celebrations. This year, some start as early as June 28, and others are not until July 7. Hopefully, there is an event that fits everyone’s schedule.
This is by no means a list of all fireworks and celebrations in Southern Illinois, but there are links to some listed below in alphabetical order. Don’t forget that you can also use the ASOSI app (free for download in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store) to find locally-owned restaurants, things to see, and more listed by town.
Alton’s Fireworks Spectacular
Anna Fourth of July Fireworks
Carbondale Fireworks Display
Carlyle Lake’s Fireworks Spectacular
Carterville Independence Day Fireworks
Cobden, Reds, Whites & Brews at StarView Vineyards
DuQuoin Fireworks Display
Farina 4th of July
Golconda 4th of July Festival and Fireworks
Goreville Freedom Fest 2018
Grand Tower Fireworks & More
Herrin Park July 4th with Cat Daddy O Live, Special Night Swim, and Fireworks
Johnston City Fireworks Spectacular
Metropolis 2018 Hometown Celebration
Mt. Carmel’s Fantastic 4th Celebration
Rend Lake Fireworks
Salem Celebrating Independence Day
Southern Illinoisans have a rich history of family-based Memorial Day Traditions. Some families gather for reunions and picnics. Others get together to honor the memory of loved ones by placing flowers on graves. Communities gather to remember and honor those who have served our country. Swimming pools open, and annual festivals bring people together to kick off the unofficial beginning of summer.
Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971. Its origins were in Decoration Day, which came from a need to deal with grief during the Civil War. It appears that many locations claim to be the founder of that holiday. With so many people now researching their heritage through DNA testing, it seems likely that even more will be at cemeteries this year to remember and learn about their ancestors.
For many years, East Lawn Cemetery in Salem (Marion County) would accommodate many visitors-both decendants of the Joles and Broadway families buried in East Lawn Cemetery and people driving by to watch them. In 1891, “Gypsy Sam” and Betsy Joles reportedly traveled through Salem during a journey from Ohio to Southern Missouri. While camping in Salem, they could view East Lawn Cemetery and thought it was beautiful. When their daughter died in Missouri, they returned to Salem for her burial. Unfortunately, another daughter passed away while they were in Salem and was also buried in East Lawn. These are the first two known graves that started the annual Memorial Day Weekend gypsy pilgrimages to Salem. For many years, the Broadway and Joles Family graves were adorned with beautiful, elaborate floral arrangements. Some of these depicted the loved ones hobbies or favorite foods. I can remember watching the procession of cars and all of the colorful decorations as a child. It really was a nice way that their family remembered their loved ones. Sadly, in recent years, there has not been as much decoration as in past decades.
Many communities will have ceremonies honoring those who have served our country. There is a Memorial Day Service planned at Mound City National Cemetery. The Carterville Lioness Club will once again have a beautiful display of flags at Cannon Park for their Military Salute.
Herrinfesta Italiana, an annual celebration of Herrin’s Italian heritage since 1981 is already in full swing. Carbondale has Memorial Day Sesquesentennial Observation planned. Marion will be holding Memorial Day at Ray Fosse Park. These are just some of the things going on throughout the weekend.
A link to information on some of the Memorial Day events in Southern Illinois will be available in the “Events” section of this website as well as the ASOSI app. The app is available for free download in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Beautiful lights and decorations, horse drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate, Christmas shopping, and friendly folks can only mean one thing: It’s time for Christmas in Carterville. Friday, December 2, 2016, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, downtown Carterville becomes a celebration that anyone familiar with “Gilmore Girls” would expect to find in Stars Hollow.
This year, the event has added a Christmas cookie contest. There are even more unique businesses to visit downtown. Botski’s, a café and coffee shop, and Live Simple Shop are among the unique spots that have opened in newly renovated spaces on Division Street. If you are searching for hard to find Christmas gifts, you may find something in one of the antique stores or have something made at Live Simple Shop.
Besides the downtown businesses staying open late, many other vendors will be on site. Some of these are Ginger Snaps, kettlecorn, homemade salad dressing, Lipsense, Scentsy, Toy Copters, and more!
Some of the family-friendly activities include free hot dogs, carriage rides for a suggested donation of three dollars, and selfies with elves. The elves will also be around to assist folks in navigating the celebration. Free entertainment is set to include a performance by Arabesque Sugar Plum dancers as well as a group of line dancing ladies on the main stage. Kids will have an opportunity to write letters to Santa at Malone’s and also visit the Santa House. Local fireman will climb the truck ladder and conduct a “Snowball Drop” for the kids.
For more information, including a video Q&A session on the event, you may visit the Christmas in Carterville Facebook page.